Appendix:Japanese Glossary
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Appendix:Japanese Glossary

A glossary of Japanese linguistic terms used in the body of this dictionary. see also Appendix:Glossary for terms not specific to Japanese.

Table of Contents: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


  • Ateji () - kanji representing a sound that is not from the original phoneme associated with the kanji's used reading. Example: ?(?)?(?) (on'yomi is associated with Sinitic phoneme, but the word is non-Sinitic), ?(?)?() (originally unrelated kanji ?(?)?()). In some ateji, kanji is chosen to make it a phono-semantic matching, e.g. ?()?(?)?(?).


  • Commonly used kanji - English translation of J?y? kanji.


  • Daiy?ji () - a kanji in the j?y? kanji or t?y? kanji list that is used to replace another kanji not in the list. The two kanji are usually homophonic or semi-homophonic.


  • Goon () - the kanji pronunciation before the arrival of Kan'on. One of the on'yomi categories. Goon is the earliest of all borrowed pronunciations, mostly used in Buddhist terms.
  • Grade n kanji - one of the grade divisions of the ky?iku kanji (educational kanji) ranging from 1 through 6. "Grade S" refers to kanji taught in secondary school.


  • Hy?gaiji () - kanji outside the j?y? kanji and jinmeiy? kanji lists; most (but not all) such kanji are written in ky?jitai (traditional characters).


  • Jinmeiy? kanji () - kanji used for names per the official list, supplement to j?y? kanji. May mean either just the jinmeiy? kanji, or j?y? kanji and jinmeiy? kanji, meaning "all kanji on official lists". Opposite of hy?gaiji.
  • J?y? kanji (?) - commonly used kanji, per official list.
  • J?bakoyomi (?) - pronunciation of a two-kanji compound, with the first kanji on'yomi and the second kun'yomi.
  • Jukujikun () - an inseparable reading of a multi-kanji term, e.g. (). Also known as (gikun).


  • Kanji () Chinese characters that are used in the Japanese writing system.
  • Kan'on () - the kanji pronunciation brought to Japan during the Japanese missions to Tang China. One of the on'yomi categories. Kan'on resembles the contemporary Chang'an Chinese dialect, and is more systematic compared to other borrowings.
  • Kan'y?on () - the kanji pronunciation derived from a corrupted or changed form of other regular on'yomi. One of the on'yomi categories.
  • Kun'yomi () - a reading of a kanji that is not derived from the kanji's original pronunciation borrowed from Chinese.
    • Most kun'yomi are of native Japonic origin, with a few exceptions:
      1. Borrowed from Chinese, but attributed to a different kanji, e.g. ?()? (hidoi) from Chinese-derived ?(?)?() (hid?).
      2. Borrowed from languages other than Chinese, e.g. ?() (mairu).
        • Most of this kind of kun'yomi are dated, and are now replaced by pure katakana, e.g. .
    • Kun'yomi is limited to single-kanji readings. For similar readings of inseparable multi-kanji terms, see jukujikun.
  • Kokuji () - kanji made specifically for the Japanese language.
  • Ky?iku kanji (?) - Elementary school kanji; literally, "educational kanji". The elementary level of the j?y? kanji, divided into 6 grades.
  • Ky?jitai () - Japanese traditional characters; literally "old character forms". Opposite to shinjitai. Virtually identical to Chinese traditional characters, with occasional differences. Used for hy?gaiji and in pre-shinjitai texts.


  • Nanori () - special kanji readings used exclusively in Japanese names. The nanori reading of a kanji is often a pronunciation assumed from its synonym or near-synonym.


  • On'yomi () - a reading of a kanji that is derived from the kanji's original pronunciation borrowed from Chinese, or rarely as in kan'y?on, misunderstood as being so. On'yomi readings are generally categorized into goon, kan'on, t?on and kan'y?on.
    • On'yomi is a "closed" category, i.e, it does not acquire new members. New borrowings of Chinese characters' pronunciations after the 20th century are generally not considered to be on'yomi.
  • Okurigana (?) - kana suffixes following kanji stems. For example, in , ? is okurigana.


  • Rendaku () - voicing of an unvoiced initial consonant in a non-initial component of a word. Usually seen when joining words together and in reduplication.
  • Renj? () - sandhi, a kind of sound fusion between morphemes, such as ?()?() whose pronunciation is not ten'? (ten + ?), but tenn?. Compare Middle English nekename, from reinterpreting an ekename as a nekename; see also earlier Middle English ekename ("nickname").


  • Shinjitai () - Japanese simplified characters; literally "new character forms". Opposite to ky?jitai. Used for all regulated kanji, meaning jinmeiy? kanji, including j?y? kanji.


  • T?on () - the kanji pronunciation brought to Japan since the Kamakura period, with some as late as in the Qing dynasty. One of the on'yomi categories. T?on is relatively rare and irregular. Also called s?on () or t?s?on ().


  • Uncommon kanji - English translation of Hy?gaiji.


  • Yut?yomi (?) - pronunciation of a two-kanji compound, with the first kanji kun'yomi and the second on'yomi.

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